Ever have one of those movies you learned to love because you were told over and over again what a masterpiece it was? You might’ve heard adjectives attached to it, such as “lavish”, “sweeping”, “lush”, “breathtaking” or “majestic.” Then one day you finally watched it and went, “Wow…” because as a budding cinephile, you wanted to be one with the movie aficionados. You wanted, in other words, to appreciate the movie in the way they did, so you could feel like you were one of them.
For me, this was Doctor Zhivago (1965). Almost every two to three years for 20 years, I would sit down and watch the movie in awe, not because I was genuinely awed but because I had learned to watch it through the eyes of others who had constantly gushed about it.
Then came that moment when the illusion about the movie’s status was blown, not unlike that time when you were five and finally noticed that Santa had the exact same pair of shoes as your grandfather’s. For me, that moment happened when I really started taking the concept of romantic relationships and marriage more seriously beyond the Harlequin novel and TV soap opera. This turning point in my life was when I realized what a complete and hollow joke Doctor Zhivago is of a film. To explain why, let’s talk about what the movie pretends to be about, as opposed to what it’s really about.
I had a similar reaction to Zhivago when I saw it as a teenager. I could never have explored it in such lucid detail or examined so many facets of it, but I had the distinct sense that the “love story” was offensive nonsense — selfish, adulterous, and based on virtually nothing. I was unaware of the sexist exploitation that you articulate so well, and I couldn’t contextualize all of it historically, but my raw impression was that the plot was pretentious and preposterous.
You have purloined to yourself the intention of the producer and director.
Dr Zhivago (68) still works for millions including me. That was their intention. It seems close to the intention of Louise Pasternak. And even if not, so what? Contrivance is not the opposite of truth. More so when historical drama is being portrayed. Whether in revolutions or wars or at an Elvis concert love is malleable. Think not that you know the best course it should have taken. I have 5 Academy Awards in my suit. What do you hold? Stop intellectualizing yourself out of enjoyment.
I didn’t think you read a word of this essay.
When you tell me to “stop intellectualizing,” what you’re telling me is to leave my brain at the door, so I can accept the movie’s subtext without question.
The Academy Awards have been meaningless for a very long time, so I’m not sure what bragging about having won five is supposed to mean. Assuming you’re an “insider,” you know very well that the entire thing has always been driven by politics, quid pro quo, campaigning and pandering. You have five under your suit, but Charlie Chaplin and Alfred Hitchcock received none for their work.
Yes! I did read as far as the relevant trope. It threw me to the point that I even renamed Boris🤣. However, I certainly respect disagreement. But before I do go back and read the full article answer my perplexity. Will it invalidate my comment?
What does that mean, “You read as far as the relevant trope”? I didn’t write any tropes, because I didn’t write a story. Tropes are in stories, not articles. Can you please elaborate?
thank goodness!!! i thought i was losing my mind!!! i just watched this for the 1st time a week ago expecting a ‘Gone With The Wind’ epic romantic movie and was sorely disappointed. so….i agree 100%!!! 🙂